PH welcomes US aid for workers’ rights
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine embassy in the United States welcomed Washington’s $1-million technical assistance grant to strengthen workers’ rights and improve the labor inspection systems in the country.
“This is yet another initiative that reflects the enduring strategic partnership between the Philippines and the United States,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said in a statement shortly after the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) of the US Department of Labor announced the grant.
The grant, which the United States awarded to the International Labor Organization (ILO), is intended to help improve the effectiveness of labor inspections in the Philippines, particularly in the areas of occupational safety and health and labor rights monitoring by workers, employers and their representatives.
“The assistance will further accelerate our compliance with global labor standards,” Cuisia said even as he commended the Department of Labor and Employment, particularly Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, for negotiating for its approval on the country’s behalf.
In selecting the Philippines, the ILAB noted the country’s efforts to increase manpower and enhance technology in labor inspections.
It said the grant will help the country by improving labor law compliance and labor rights monitoring.
“This kind of targeted technical cooperation assistance impacts significantly the promotion of labor standards enforcement and compliance in the Philippines and ensures the protection of workers rights to decent employment,” Cuisia said.
Labor Attaché in the United States Angel Borja said the announcement of the grant is timely for the Philippines, which is working hard to sustain the gains the economy has achieved in 2014 and to meet new development challenges in 2015 and beyond.
“As a way forward, the role of a robust and institutionalized labor inspection regime that guarantees employers compliance to internationally-accepted labor standards on a sustainable basis cannot simply be over emphasized,” Borja said.
“Labor inspections as a means of enforcing existing labor laws are essential to raising standards for workers around the world,” said US Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Carol Pier, who also announced a $2-million grant for Peru.
“These projects will build on existing efforts within Peru and the Philippines to help those countries better enforce their labor laws and protect workers’ rights,” Pier added.
Since 1995, ILAB has worked with other governments and international organizations to identify the kind of aid that countries may require to improve the labor conditions of their workers.
ILAB’s Office of Trade and Labor Affairs currently provides approximately $76 million in technical assistance to improve worker rights, livelihood and labor law compliance in more than 72 countries around the world.
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